Quark 7 or Indesign for a Page Layout Test?
December 7, 2006 8:50 AM   Subscribe

My husband is going to be tested on his page layout skills. The interviewers are looking at both speed and quality. He gets to pick either Quark 7 or (the current version of) Indesign. But there's a dilemma ...

He can use Quark 4 in his sleep, but has never used the new Quark. He has been using Indesign for many months but isn't fluent with all the shortcuts and hotkeys. Which program should he pick? Will all his knowledge of Quark 4 translate relatively effortlessly to 7? Oh: he is in the same boat whether he's using a Mac or a PC.
posted by kmel to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would recommend using InDesign, only because I took a whole class on it and feel really comfortable using it. The shortcuts do get to be kind of confusing, but the key is to click on the "Windows" tab and use those - you can bring up everything from shading/transparency, fonts, etc. all from that menu.
I have a book from my class that I could offer you, depending on how much time your husband has until he takes his test? I don't have it here so I can't tell you what it's called, but I can repost later if he's interested.
I'm just a little biased to InDesign, and have never used Quark, so I'm not sure how the transition would be from Quark 4 to 7.
This wasn't much help but I'll get the title of that book/workbook if you want!
posted by slyboots421 at 9:13 AM on December 7, 2006

I'd suggest he should download the trial version of Quark 7 and see for himself if things work the way they used to.
posted by teg at 9:13 AM on December 7, 2006

For what it's worth, I spent several years using Quark 4 for many hours a day, and as infuriating as it often was, I still find it easier to navigate, even after six years away from heavy print work and a fair amount of noodling with InDesign.

Depending on how much time he has before the interview, I'll second the idea of downloading the trial. Remembering how truly ingrained and unconscious all the Quark shortcuts become as a power user, I'm betting he'll know very quickly whether or not he'll feel comfortable enough to go through the test with the new version -

If he doesn't, remind him you can set InDesign to mimic most of Quark's keyboard shortcuts, though I'm guessing he does that already -
posted by jalexei at 9:17 AM on December 7, 2006

quark is on its way to the deathbed. he should tell them he used to work in quark 4 and is thus proficient in it but has moved on to indesign. there is a help file that allows you to print all the keyboard shortcuts.

besides, it's adobe. there are a lot of similarities.
posted by krautland at 9:22 AM on December 7, 2006

If he has the time, I recommend he bone up on Indesign as it's the superior program.

I haven't Quark much since version 5, but the program is noted for not changing it's interface that much, so it might be quicker for him in the short run.

But bone up on Indesign.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:32 AM on December 7, 2006

I'm not on a computer where I can check this, but I'm pretty sure you can change InDesgin shortcuts to match Quark's. I'd suggest he look into that.
posted by dame at 9:48 AM on December 7, 2006

There aren't alot of shortcuts that make you substantially more productive in InDesign. So many of the features are done through menus and dialogs.

I recommend memorizing maybe 10 or so navigational shortcuts (such as temporary overrides to tools to 'hand' across the page, or to select a tool such as the 'move/select' tool, flow shortcuts, etc.). Get in the habit of using those, be fast with any mouse clicks, be methodical, and he should be fine.

What kind of publication or document will he be working on?
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2006

As Dame said, you can change InDesign's shortcuts to match Quark's. I would recommend that. Look it up in the InDesign handbook - I can't really explain how to in detail right now - but the F keys can all be switched (ie: turn guides on/off, send objects to front/back), and the key combos work too - like adjust leading/tracking/font size, etc.
I used Quark for years, even Quark 6. But I haven't used it on a regular basis for a year because the company I'm at now uses InDesign. It's a amazing what you forget. Besides, as a one-time Quark fan, I am begining to think the way to go now is definitely InDesign. Usually these "skill tests" are pretty easy, so I wouldn't worry too much. Good luck to him!
posted by Alpenglow at 10:07 AM on December 7, 2006

The test will be on the interviewer's machines, creating text- and image-heavy catalog pages. Unless you can change the hotkeys extremely quickly I don't think doing so would be a good use of time. (Although if they're watching closely it might impress the hell out of them)
posted by kmel at 10:13 AM on December 7, 2006

If you go to Edit - Keyboard Shortcuts, under Set - select "shortcuts for QuarkXpress 4.0". It's really that easy. It took me about 30 seconds just now.
posted by Alpenglow at 10:32 AM on December 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

The basic functions and shortcuts of Quark haven't changed much between 4 and 6.5 (I haven't used 7, but I'd imagine it's much the same) so if he can use Q4 in his sleep he should probably use Q7 for testing purposes. Download the Q7 demo and get familiar with Quark's quirks, ace the test, then switch to InDesign at the earliest convenient opportunity.
posted by lekvar at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2006

quark is on its way to the deathbed. he should tell them he used to work in quark 4 and is thus proficient in it but has moved on to indesign.

Correct, Test 1: which product he choses.

And, getting 80% with indesign is gonna count for more than 100% with Quark.
posted by scheptech at 12:16 PM on December 7, 2006

Interesting point, scheptech.
posted by kmel at 1:25 PM on December 7, 2006

I agree with everything lekvar said. Just picture that post again with my name at the end of it.
posted by bink at 2:55 PM on December 7, 2006

As I see it, you have two options. Either use Quark 7 (after he's gone through the trial version to make sure he knows what's what) or use InDesign but do NOT use the Quark shortcuts.

Quark 7 is the obvious choice if the interviewers honestly don't care about anything other than speed. It's also likely to be a better choice if he's not confident in InDesign, or if he doesn't have much time left to bone up. If the interviewers are giving him the choice, chances are they don't care which one he picks, or they're willing to retrain him if he shows some core competency. But if I were interviewing him (not that I'd ever be in that position) I'd be more impressed with InDesign for two reasons.

One, your husband's more fluent with Quark, and yet he does just fine with InDesign. That makes him adaptable; rote memorization of shortcuts is great, but being able to use either program without trouble is a sign that your husband's absorbed all the processes and best practises of page layout that don't change depending on what program you're using. It's also a good sign that your husband can juggle all that stuff in his head without being fazed. That's one reason why I'd suggest he not use Quark shortcuts; being able to use InDesign natively is more of an asset, I think. It shows you actually know the second program, instead of relying on transition crutches like shortcut mappings, plus it means you can jump on any InDesign install without screwing around with preferences.

Two, it also means he'll be an asset if/when the company decides to transition over to one package or another, and yes, I do think it'll be InDesign. Now that people are finally trusting InDesign, the industry is running to Adobe like prisoners during a jailbreak. But if it were me, I'd emphasize that I was familiar and comfortable with both applications.
posted by chrominance at 12:42 AM on December 8, 2006

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